America! The country that has accepted stupidity and ignorance with open arms. Reality shows, glorified karaoke contests, MTV, “Jackass,” a spoiled heiress grabbing headlines from actual important world events, the growing sentiment among the populace: “I hate to read,” the war against Christmas, Eli Roth fans, Bill O’Reilly, the popularity of Ann Coulter, President George W. Bush, Dr. Phil… I can go on here, folks.
“Stupidity” is the indictment of pop culture, and America for their utter acceptance of stupidity and ignorance, and the frightening trend and appeal in fools, and acting a fool. Is there really a rapid decline in intelligence in this world? Are people becoming dumber by choice, or are they products of their environment? Is mankind de-evolving? Is stupidity just an illusion? Or is it as subjective as beauty, and normality?
One of my favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein who proclaimed that two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. He wasn’t sure about the former. Nerenberg’s film is a frightening and disturbing account of the decrease of human intelligence, and common sense that begins as a stern examination of our minds, exploring how people revel in stupidity to get what they want, and often succeed. With numerous interviews with noted experts, Nerenberg shows how stupidity has been used as a dating tool, a tool to fame, and how it’s been regarded as chic to accept stupidity. Nerenberg’s film is on the right track from the get go, and then by the second half hits a brick wall.
Is it all just a conspiracy theory? A subjective view? Or is this film simply the meanderings of a pompous individual examining his own view of humanity? Nerenberg displays human stupidity at its worse, and explores how different methods conducted by the media and television have succeeded in forming a decline in intelligence and how we’ve accepted it. It’s a complex topic to discuss in one review, but “Stupidity” attempts to sum it up and study it as best as it can. “Stupidity” makes some excellent points, but also resorts to misinformation, and generalizations to get its point across, which are ironically uninformed.
Nerenberg sadly finds himself in his own trap. He asks many questions, but gives no answers, presents many theories and leaves them standing, he proclaims stupidity as a trend but warns of the dangers of too much information, he observes stupidity from a superficial level, and never bothers to explore further origins of stupidity linking to childhood, and or education. Then in the climax, he points his target at President Bush revealing how pure stupidity now runs the country, and how we have nothing to do about it. But you can sense the film lagging when the narrator proclaims “Is Bush a moron?” Never once does he explain Bush’s connections, his past, and his reliance on support from his contemporaries.
He instead points to the obvious observations that have been discussed a hundred times over. He’s not one for words, he has no idea how to run the country, he re-wrote this country’s rules after 9/11. We know. Regardless of the film’s intentions, simply stupidity is a choice in the end. Its complacency, mis-information, and apathy aided by the media, bad parenting, and a society who dismisses it as acceptable. “Stupidity” almost hits the mark as an astute examination of ignorance and the appeal of stupidity, but it all disassembles in the end.